Assad discusses military cooperation with Russian defense minister

Assad discusses military cooperation with Russian defense minister
# 19 June 2016 03:52 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Syrian President Bashar al Assad met Russia's defense minister during a visit to the Syrian capital and discussed military cooperation, state television said on Saturday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

State media did not disclose any details of the previously unannounced visit by Sergei Shoigu, who said he was sent to Damascus by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's Defence Ministry confirmed the visit and said Shoigu discussed military-technical cooperation between the two countries and the fight against insurgents.

Russia's military intervention in Syria in September helped to turn the tide of war in Assad's favor after months of gains in western Syria by rebel fighters, who were aided by foreign military supplies including U.S.-made anti-tank missiles.

Russia, which has been intensively bombing opposition-held areas in Syria since the intervention, is blamed by the opposition and rights activists for causing hundreds of civilian deaths and targeting hospitals, schools and infrastructure in what they say are indiscriminate attacks.

Washington and some other Western countries that have called on Assad to step down accuse Russia of focusing mostly on strikes against the moderate so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and less on attacking hardline Islamic State militants.

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